It’s the buzzword for chilling out, and the go-to for a de-stressing routine: meditation is bloody brilliant.And maybe, just maybe, we have worked out how to meditate. But if you aren’t using your new found techniques to their full advantage, are you getting the full mindfulness which you deserve?
Meditation is brimming with benefits – both physical and mental – leaving you de-stressed, and focused for the day ahead.
With our chaotic lives, we can barely squeeze out a minute to respond to our emails. But it turns out, meditating at different times of the day can affect you in different ways. By finding the meditation routine that you need, you can work it into a daily routine and reap the benefits of taking a minute for yourself. The truth is, this on-trend obsession for morning and night-time routines doesn’t end with cutting up some cucumber, or jamming to some ASMR.
By fitting your self-care into your busy schedule, you can properly learn how to meditate, and feel the full effectiveness that you crave.
Just like out schedules, every person is unique, and is struggling with their own challenges and needs. Meditation is a ‘one size fits all’ activity, and once you’ve worked out how to meditate to your advantage, it will feel just as comfy as your favourite hoody. Holes and all.
Here’s how you can find the best meditation for you.
How to meditate in the morning
In all honestly, who likes mornings? With the prospect of a busy day ahead, we can barely wipe the sleep from our eyes and drag ourselves to the shower, let alone consider a serious contribution to our wellbeing.
But this is considered one of the best times to get your mindfulness on. Finding your inner peace before you’ve even put the kettle on is the perfect way to set the tone for the day ahead. And because learning how to meditate as a beginner is pretty daunting (particularly when we are still half asleep) simply try to focus on deep, and slower, breathing.
Or, if you’re looking to take on the day, try mantra meditation. Be your own hype man, and repeat words you find help you chill out, but also stay on target.
And when it’s time for lunch
No day will ever go smoothly, pray as we might. When we face obstacles throughout the day, our stress levels can rise out of control, so keep a lid on your anxieties, and have a quick meditate.
Meditation can settle you mind, and clear it so you can decide the next step you want to take. Plus, it can relax the muscles we often tense up when are furiously typing reports that are due by the end of the day. By giving your brain a break, you can return to the desk with a more creative outlook, thinking up solutions to the problems you face on your front line.
The best meditations to do during the day are often guided. Quick, and effective, they can give you the boost, or destress, you need. And thanks to the wonders of the web, learning how to meditate will only ever take a few clicks, or taps (or several frustrating attempts to use Siri).
What about getting outside to clear your head? Walking meditation is the new kid on the block, and why wouldn’t it be? In just 10 minutes, by focusing on your breathing, and the feelings of your body as you stomp out your troubles, you can achieve the mindfulness you have been seeking.
And this takes us to the last meditation we are advised to practice when the lunch bell finally rings. Mindfulness meditation is simply about being aware of what is happening right now. You can let go of the past, and cope with your future, and it only ever takes a few clicks to find it. In simple terms, this practice is about accepting the thoughts, the sounds and the feelings in your body. By just observing, and letting thoughts pass, you can relax, and tune in with yourself.
Bring yourself back into the moment when you’re feeling lost.
And during the evening
We’ve truly become masters of the night-time routine. We know the times we turn in, we know the music we like to listen to as we doodle in our diaries, and lord knows there is no better feeling than hitting the off button.
But working out how to meditate in the evening is a rather controversial topic in the de-stressing world. Meditation enthusiasts and instructors claim that meditating too close to our bedtime can become confused with relaxing until we are finally asleep. Meditation however has the sole aim of making us feel more awake.
On the other hand, there is scientific evidence supporting that just before we hit the hay, the mind is very receptive. So, any meditation we do will have long term effects that we will be sure to feel when our alarms go off.
To test the theories yourself, try simple meditations, such as breathing meditations. This really does what it says on the tin – merely focus on your breath.
Candle staring – again, a rather self-evident form of relaxation – won’t just keep you chilled out for the rest of the evening, but will also boost your aesthetic points. Plus, it’s great if you struggle to keep your mind on one thing. Simply watch the flame flicker, breathe deeply, let any thoughts be acknowledged, and then pass on through.
When we learn how to meditate, we gain a skill that you can’t just slap onto a CV. This is finally something that you are giving back to yourself. But instead of passing off self-care as something that you must squeeze into a spare minute, rather regard it as something you make a part your schedule.
Breathing deeper than usual now and then might bring you a chance at inner peace, but knowing how it works best for you is the way forward.
Drag yourself out of bed, and knot yourself up into the lotus position. Let’s get meditating.
Selfish Darling’s Gratitude Journal gives you breathing techniques useful in your practice.